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Into the Wild
Transcript of Into the Wild
by Jon Krakauer
John Green - "What to do with Your Life?" (3:23)
What is the relationship between nature and the American identity?
What does it mean to be a rebel?
What is the relationship between self and society?
To what extent is community essential to happiness?
What is success?
How do we construct identity through our actions, interests, values, and beliefs?
Glue in and answer in your WNB
The Journey of Chris McCandless
Growing up in Annandale, VA - Chris and his family
Hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains with father and family friend, Don Montgomery
"At the edge of the dry riverbed, in a thicket of saltbush not far from where they had parked, a large object was concealed beneath a dun-colored tarpaulin. When the rangers pulled off the tarp, they found an old yellow Datsun without license plates. A note taped to the windshield read, 'This piece of shit has been abandoned. Whoever can get it out of here can have it.'
"Driving west out of Atlanta, he intended to invent an utterly new life for himself, one in which he would be free to wallow in unfiltered experience. To symbolize the complete severance from his previous life, he even adopted a new name. No longer would he answer to Chris McCandless; he was now Alexander Supertramp, master of his own destiny."
Attended college at Emory University - Atlanta, GA
After abandoning his Datsun, McCandless made his way to South Dakotah where he was picked up by a grain farmer called Wayne Westerfield. Westerfield offered McCandless a job on his grain elevator, which McCandless accepted. Chris and Wayne quickly became friends and it was to Wayne that Chris sent his last correspondence.
Lake Mead, Arizona
Carthage, South Dakotah
Lake Havasu, Arizona
After traveleing here from Carthage, McCandless purchases a secondhand canoe and paddle.
Gulf of California, Near US-Mexico Border
Using his secondhand canoe and paddle, Chris kayaks down the Colorado River, sneaking into and getting lost in Mexico by way of a spillway. Eventually, he made his way to the Pacific and up to California.
Just outside of Healy, Alaska
After making his way out of Mexico, McCandless hitchikes from California all the way up the West Coast to Fairbanks, AK. From Fairbanks, he hitches a ride with a truck driver named James Gallien. Noticing how woefully unprepared he is, Gallien gives McCandless a pair of boots and a small meal. It is believed that he was the last man to see McCandless alive. Making his way into the bush, Chris stumbles upon the old bus no. 142. While holed up there, he dies of a combination of starvation and food poisoning.
McCandless entered the Alaskan Wilderness via the Stampede Trail, where he posed for a picture before venturing into the wild.
In your WNB, make a three column chart and label the columns
SEE THINK WONDER
Examine both the original cover of the book and the re-release of the book with a still from the movie.
What do you SEE? Jot it down.
What does it make you think? Jot!
What does it make you wonder? Jot!
Make a vocab foldable.
Fold paper like a hot dog bun.
Make flaps so you can write the term on the front and the definition underneath.
Make a list of 5 principles that you live by.
Dig deeper by writing about one of the principles.
Strive for a paragraph.
Write this quote: "To Be Great is to be Misunderstood"--Emerson
Do you agree? Can you think of people from history to whom this applies?
Interview with John Krakauer
Walt at the Bus
Billie at the Bus
Chris as a Kid
(5) - friendly
(10) a steep slope
(10) - a metallic element
(11) - glitch, inconsistency
(16) - face
(16) - good-natured
(18) - sociable
(18) - crude, common
(18) - appearance
(22) - troublesome
Every chapter in Into The Wild begins with an epigram
The epigram is a device to focus the reader on a concept or concepts explored in a section of literature.
First winnow the passage down to likely key words, phrases, and passages.
Second, identify any missing knowledge such as essential vocabulary or background knowledge.
Next, explode key words or phrases by making associations (as one would do when exploring connotations).
Finally pose questions concerning the content of the rest of the chapter.
1. After reading chapter 1, use
to describe Chris McCandless (Alex).
Explain and support each adjective with a specific quote from the chapter. Cite in MLA style.
2. After graduating college, McCandless begins, “an epic journey that would change everything” (22). He saw his time in college as “an absurd and onerous duty” (22). In heading west he felt freed “from the stifling world of his parents and peers, a world of abstraction and security and material excess” (22).
Using examples from the reading explain what he meant by this. Do you agree with his motivation for leaving?
Trek to the Bus
Compare what we've read about Chris McCandless's journey so far to what we learned about Transcendentalism.
In what ways could Chris's experience be considered Transcendentalist?
(What principles of Transcendentalism relate to his trek?)
Look back to your QOD from Wednesday when you made a list of 5 principles that you live by.
Today, make a list of 5 principles that Chris lived by.
Dig deeper by writing about one such principle. Do you agree with this principle? Is it one from your own list? Strive for a paragraph.
The Magic Bus
Analyzing Structure in Chapters 1-7
Into the Wild: Chapter 1-7 Text Structure
Draw a line/cite on this sheet where you think the “introduction” ends in each chapter. Is it after the first paragraph or after several paragraphs? What do you notice about the introduction to each chapter? (4 pts)
Consider the last paragraph of each chapter. What is the function of each? (Function = What the author is trying to accomplish) (4 pts)
What is the purpose of focusing on Carthage, South Dakota, and on Westerberg in this chapter? (2 pts)
How does this chapter function in terms of the organization of the whole? (Consider the questions raised in the previous chapter, and they relate to this chapter) (2 pts)
Write brief statements describing the function of each of these chapters. (8 pts)
Identify which chapter is the most developed and explain why. (2 pts)
Angela Lee Duckworth - "Grit" (6:13)
Christopher McCandless had GRIT.
He was able to experience setbacks, but he kept going.
What do you think it means to have grit?
Chapter 8, Alaska
Yet another man who people have compared McCandless to is
. As a worker on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the '70s, McCunn was in Alaska already and, in 1981, requested to be flown to a remote lake above the Coleen River. He forgot to request a flight back, though, and soon ran out of food in his cabin. Rather than attempting to walk back out of the wilderness, he wastes away in his cabin and eventually shot himself. Krakauer goes on to compare McCunn and McCandless’s lack of common sense and foresight in their planning. He also states that McCandless was not mentally ill, but that McCunn and Waterman both were.
The argument of whether McCandless was in fact mentally ill is railed against by Krakauer, saying he knew he would likely not survive in the wild and did not think he would be saved as the other men did.
Chapter 9, Davis Gulch
An author devoted to
story, Ken Sleight has his own theory that Ruess drowned in 1935 after tying up his donkeys in the Gulch and taking the Mormon trail out of the area. He was likely on his way to visit friends across the river and drowned in the crossing.
With yet one more comparison, Krakauer describes the secluded Papar monks of Ireland. These monks moved to Iceland in the 5th century until Norwegians arrived and they headed off for Greenland. Because they so fervently sought seclusion, many of them lost their lives in the harsh conditions of Greenland.
He compares the lives and ideals of both Ruess and McCandless to that of these Irish monks, seeking some sort of Spiritual seclusion.
Summary of Chapters 8 and 9
Jon Krakauer Interview
"How Chris McCandless Died" by Jon Krakauer
(article in 'The New Yorker' - September 12th, 2013)
"...Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don't let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your movements tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self control.
By and by your attention becomes so instensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaing nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream.
Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence - the laps of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison of your genes - all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.
At such moments something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest, but it isn't the sort of emotion you want to lean on very hard..."
- Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild (Chapter 14, pages 142-143)
What does Krakauer mean by this?
What is 'the mountain' for you? What moves you? - How? Why?